Marian Engel's novel Bear , which tells the story of a relationship between a woman and her ursine lover, has been called one of the most controversial books in the history of Canadian literature. But experts say the Governor General Award-winning book is also one of the most daring and relevant examples in the Canadian canon, deftly mixing comedic scenes with important themes such as colonialism and our relationship to the wilderness. One expert says it also touches on the issue of Western appropriation of Indigenous stories. But that is not why it has enduring value," said Aritha van Herk, a novelist and English professor at the University of Calgary.
Bears having sex with women: Folklore or fact, it catches the fancy of rural India’s imagination
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Bear is a novel by Canadian author Marian Engel , published in It won the Governor General's Literary Award the same year. It is Engel's fifth novel, and her most famous. The story tells of a lonely librarian in northern Ontario who enters into a sexual relationship with a bear. The book has been called "the most controversial novel ever written in Canada ". The book was Engel's fifth novel, and her sixth piece of published writing. She was awarded a Canada Council grant on the strength of the book, but had difficulty finding a publisher for her second novel, The Honeyman Festival.
Animal attraction: Bear, the controversial story of one woman’s sexual awakening
What about bears made them the choice for partner in this carnal interspecies encounter? How did bears come to be related to women as husbands? What, in particular, was it about embodied interspecies encounters between women and bears that allowed for the queer boundary crossing — between human and animal, between mundane and extraordinary, between drudgery and love — that is at the heart of this genre? I take these tellings as attempts to imagine and enact alternate ways of dwelling and connecting in a world where one exists only in relation to a variety of human and nonhuman others. Bears are favored creatures of cultural lore and practice.
W hat do you think of when you think of a bear? A large, lumbering creature, unpredictably violent? Do you think of the bearded, heavy-set man contrasted, in the informal typology among gay men, with the skinnier, more feminine twink? Or perhaps you think of a cuddly toy?